Thursday, January 11, 2007

The News in Briefs / Last Puzzler Answer / New Fortnightly Puzzler

Time-Traveling Egyptian Visits German Game Store
"Holy pharaoh poop," he says

Essen, Germany – Ancient Egyptian Ali Abdoulah arrived in downtown Essen, Germany early Wednesday afternoon. Aside from his transportation, a stone time-traveling machine, a few have which have cropped up around the world, what made his trip different was his purpose: find a new game for the king.

Abdoulah traveled forward through time on behalf of his leader Tutankhamun. His mission was simple: to bring back a futuristic game that was better than Senet. He brought only a simple stone translator to get by.

Not wasting any time, Abdoulah approached one pedestrian and said with the aid of the translator, "Take me to your game maker." Not knowing exactly what to make of the odd situation, what with the smoking stone capsule lying in the distance, the local indicated a shop around the corner.

Abdoulah quickly found the store. Upon entering, he said via the translator, "Holy pharaoh poop." He took in the hundreds of games and vibrant colors of products of the 21st century. Baffled by games like SceneIt? and Axis & Allies based on technology and events not-yet-transpired for the ancient Egyptian, Abdoulah reached out for familiarity.

He walked slowly around the store until he discovered one copy of Senet. Recognizing the writing on the box, he said, "I can't believe this camel turd is still around. I have been sent forward through the ages to replace this."

The store clerk recommended Amun-Re and Cleopatra, as well as demoing Tutankhamen. Abdoulah replied, "I don't want pictures. I have all the pictures I want on the palaces and Great Pyramids of my time. Please, something else."

After hours of looking, Abdoulah picked out a backgammon board. "This is perfect," he whispered.

Not understanding the concept of currency, Abdoulah insisted on leaving his stone translator. "This is no crocodile fart," he said. With that, he left the store, entered his stone machine, and vanished.

Essen authorities are still trying to piece together Ali Abdoulah's history, but not too much has been found.

The News in Briefs is completely fictitious. Please don't sue me.

Old Puzzler

I'm thinking of a game in two words. Drop the first two and last letters of the second word to get a famous comic character. What's the game and who's the character?



New Fortnightly Puzzler

I'm no mathematician. I don't claim to be. But this puzzle is another one of my challenges (no answer, that is, that I have figured out).

Take the game Shut-the-Box (the one with the numbers one through nine on the tiles). If you're not familiar with this old sailor's game, then here's how to play: roll two dice, add the numbers, then knock down as many tiles as you can that add up to the same number, repeat until not possible. The object is to knock all of them down, or if you're betting, more than your opponent(s). In our case, your score at the end is your remaining tiles (for example, if 1,7, and 9 are left up, then your score is 179).

The worst thing you can do is roll a double one, then roll a double one again. You're instantly out of the game. But the odds of this happening are very low. Perhaps you already know where I'm going with this one...

I want to know what the absolute worst thing a person can do in their first turn according to the odds. Imagining that you could hit any first number and knock down a terrible combo of tiles, what increases your chances of losing by the most for your second turn? And why?

I'll publish your name and findings in the next post. Write Thanks!

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